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Prioritizing Customer Loyalty at Red Lion Hotels Means Relationship Marketing

Bill Linehan, executive vice president and CMO at Red Lion Hotels Corporation, says that his company looks at customer loyalty prioritization a bit differently.

“We like to think more about relationship marketing and customer acquisition,” Linehan said to Loyalty360. “This is a big priority for us. We recognize that there are varying preferences for how and where guests want to book and we are honoring those preferences.”

That customer loyalty prioritization certainly shows in RLHC’s Hello Rewards loyalty program. 

“Over the past year, we have evolved Hello Rewards significantly,” Linehan explained. “We launched marketing automation making it easy for us to communicate pre-stay, during, and post stay. In June 2016, we launched the Hello Rewards mobile app allowing members to book hotel stays, access local destination recommendations, check-in, and manage their Hello Rewards account from the app. In 2016, our Hello Rewards membership grew 50% year-over-year and we have seen a continued increase in contribution from Hello Rewards members.”

Surprise and delight is a major factor in RLHC’s Hello Rewards loyalty program.

“Through marketing automation, we have been able to deliver a surprise and delight moment every stay,” Linehan explained. “Our individual hotels continue to embrace the program and create unique surprise and delight moments for our guests. Some hotels will offer a healthy snack at check-in, or others may use a cart and go door-to-door to Hello Rewards members and offer a variety of snacks for them to choose from off the cart.”

Linehan said that the biggest trends RLHC officials see revolve around the notion that customers want immediate gratification.

“They are resisting being directed to specific behaviors and want to do what is natural for them,” Linehan explained. “Customers appreciate aligned thinking with companies and want them to showcase that.”

Created in 1959, Red Lion Hotels Corporation is a national hospitality company primarily engaged in the franchising, management and ownership of upscale, midscale, and economy hotels under the Hotel RL, Red Lion Hotel, Red Lion Inn & Suites, GuestHouse, and Settle Inn brands.

Listening to customers is a major factor in brands understanding customer expectations. How brands listen to their customers and gain key behavioral insights goes a long way toward building loyalty.

“Gone are the days of self-addressed surveys/questionnaires and long surveys,” Linehan added. “Customers want to respond quickly and expect the company to pick up on semantic knowledge. Our survey is now two questions that are freeform text. We then use semantic tactics to identify opportunities and other trigger points. We are looking to have our survey be instant – allowing for our hotels to respond instantly. We will also aggregate our direct surveys with online reviews when showcasing results to hotels – adding another way for the hotels to obtain customer sentiment.” 

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